Component Sense Blog

E-Waste fuels the counterfeit epidemic

E-Waste fuels the counterfeit epidemic

Impact on counterfeits

A serious aspect of scrapping your stock inappropriately is you could inadvertently be contributing to electronic component counterfeiting. It is well known that "waste product" has the potential to become the counterfeit product of the future. End-Of-Life (EOL) finished goods should be crushed and recycled though legitimate companies otherwise they could end up in the counterfeiters hands. Most "counterfeit" components are actually recycled, used parts reclaimed from old product. A collective effort is required to manage waste properly so that we stop feeding the supply chain of the counterfeiters.

Over the last decade westernised countries have tended to ship all their waste off to the other countries, treating them as a dumping site, which is both dangerous and immoral. This does not address the issue at all.

Impact on the environment

These days, the environmental impact throughout the life cycle of electronic components is regulated. There are EU Directives at the production stage of new components and also at the other end of their life cycle regarding waste: Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS): RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC sets restrictions upon European manufacturers in the production of new electronics components as to the reduction or no use of lead and other hazardous substances (Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated biphenyls and Polybrominated diphenyl ether); Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive 2012/19/EU legislates for waste goods once they get to landfill. It becomes a problem because there are metals and chemicals in these components that can seep into the water table and cause many health and environmental issues.

Risks of using counterfeit products

The use of counterfeit products can result in early failure of systems and devices and may cause harm to people and the environment. This is particularly true where counterfeits are used in military, aviation or medical devices industries. Production costs increase as a company rectifies the issue with potentially significant financial loss where legal costs are also incurred. All of this is likely to have an adverse effect on a company's reputation too.

In these times of electronic component shortages, especially limited availability of any critical components, increased demand may cause counterfeits to enter the marketplace to meet this demand. Similarly manufacturing companies that need components to meet their demand may be tempted to lower their standards and break their approved supplier process to secure stock.

For further reading on E-waste and Counterfeits go to the ERAI blog posts written by Kristal Snider:

18 July 2016: "Unregulated E-Waste Keeps the Counterfeiters' Funnel Full"

18 June 2018: "The Battle Continues Against Unregulated E-Waste"


At Component Sense we see ourselves as the solution to many of these pitfalls. By reselling your new and unused component stock back into the marketplace in a controlled and traceable environment your stock can be used for its intended purpose. A managed resale program can remove any worry regarding the environmental impact of your excess and obsolete stock.

When there is need for true scrapping of product we ensure we use certified companies that meet all legal and ethical requirements. This is the only way to ensure your waste doesn't end up back in the supply chain or used as raw materials for counterfeit products.

Contact Component Sense today to start selling us your excess, obsolete and EOL stock.


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